“Be gentle with me.”
So while I was away freezing my ass off in Europe the past month…
A. The talk of the NBA is a Taiwanese dude who grew up in Silicon Valley. Great. After the lockout and Stern’s veto of the original Chris Paul deal, I was out on the NBA. I was fully content on supporting our 15,532nd most popular national sport. I traded MVP Derrick Rose for MVP, King James for MarineKing, and the TNT casting archon of Kenny and Chuck for the Tasteosis casting archon. I thought I was able to ride out an NBA-less winter with manner mules, six pools, and a shit ton of destructible rocks. I just didn’t take into the NBA’s sinister plan: they made a sports anime character.
If there’s a genre archetype as abused as the harem comedy, it’s the rags to riches sports genre. There’s always a plucky youth who isn’t a prototypical star overcoming odds, bringing together a bunch of misfits, and winning. All he needed is a chance, luck, and an unconventional perspective. Takumi turned mountain racing upside down with firm tofu. Hiro threw heaters because a doctor misdiagnosed him. Sagara fucking revolutionized rugby. It’s a sports anime story in an era where sports anime is as cliched as harem anime (and harem anime at least tries new gimmicks once in a while a la Mirai Nikki or Incestory).
B. It’s so fucking unseasonably warm in California that when I left, the trees were still bare. When I returned, all the cherry blossoms not only blossomed, most have already fell off the trees. It’s fun enjoying 72 degree weather in February though.
C. I got to see Arrietty when I was totally jet lagged but enjoyed it nonetheless. It does make me wish for a day when Ghibli would go back to animating original works instead of British authors. But I think I enjoyed Lou Dobb’s rant more… if only he saw Nausicaä, which featured a woman doing something other than cooking, cleaning, and having babies. Gasp. She’s doing science! She’s a witch! Burn her! BURN!!!
D. Senjougahara bonking Ararararagi… in terms of h-ovas that would be it the “shut up and take my money” category, “Seven Days with Nia and Simon” would be number one followed by “Unchained Sheep starring Chihiro and Renji” then followed by “Natsuki and Shizuru Cherry Pedals” then finally “Senjougahara Tosses Araragi a Bone.” Theoretically, the only presently imaginary pairings I can think of right now that would crack that list would be “Itsuki x Kyon” and “Senjougahara x Hanekawa.”
Of course, Shaft doesn’t even give us two seconds to ponder Araragi and Senjougahara because they threw it to Tsukihi and Karen nakkid cuddling. SHAAAAAAFT! Trying to distract us. I like how their bed is basically floating, only the levitating steps to said bed seem to be attached to it. I also like how no one noticed Araragi sneaking back into the house with such disheveled hair. It’s exactly like when Takumi snuck back home after bonking Natsuki during Third Stage. I definitely like how this is regarded as normal in this household.
They trashed the highway. Destroyed it. Wrecked it. Just like how Shizuru trashed, destroyed, and wrecked Natsuki. Oh well. Not like any cars drove over these highways.
(Shaft, where the fuck is this imaginary city? They go from an idyllic European countryside to industrial shipping port to Japanese tract housing to middle of a major highway ramp system. I keep expecting the cast to end on Naboo next.)
Where are you zooming there, Shaft? I see you’re just dying to animate more of Dance in the Vampire Bund… but I rather you work on Moonphase first.
(Where can I find my own blonde vampire loli slave donut whore? Seems handy to have in a pinch, especially if I’m stuck somewhere in the plot with no obvious way to advance it without resorting to an even more ridiculous deus ex machina. I feel like maybe this was what C.C.’s role in Code Geass should have been– causing all the stupid plot devices instead of just lounging around and getting fat on stuffed crust pizza.)
(I imagine this is how Pokemon live inside their Pokeballs.)
“Instead, stroke my breasts.”
Who said Monogatari wasn’t a harem series? All the chapters are named after haremettes! How more obvious do you need it to be? Should I even bother putting up a poll to see if my readers prefer if Araragi stroked current Shinobu melonpan or Shinobu Prime melonpan?
Karen fights like a cross between Champloo‘s Mugen and DBZ‘s Goku. If Nisemonogatari were an RPG, Koyomi would be the warrior tank, Karen and Kanbaru would be the melee dps, Nadeko and Senjougahara would be the range dps, and Hanekawa would be heals. It just seems like all Koyomi does to resolve problems is to get beat up or let someone get beat up. Hitagi got beat up during Hitagi Crab, and Nadeko got strangled in Nadeko Snake. Koyomi got beat up in Tsubasa Cat, Suguru Monkey, and here. It’s almost getting to Toaru Majutsu no Index status where all the plot is solved with Touma lifting up his hand. At least fate/zero is solving plot points with different Noble Phantasms. Geez.
Shaft… shadows… used… good… effect… Shinobu… stroking boobs…
I do like Senjougahara’s outfit. I really like Nisemonogatari‘s usage of normal clothes for their outfits. Though should it worry me that I have both a similar grey hoodie and olive slacks as Araragi as well as a gloomy Kaiki outfit? I just don’t know a ridiculous novelty tie. That should be a life lesson to middle schoolers– never trust anyone with a tie that goes beyond their crotch.
Speaking of Senjougahara’s outfits… Shaft needs to open a women’s fashion shop. I just hope one day I can wander around Market street and see Shaft’s storefront in between Zara’s, Forever 21’s, and Super Duper’s. All the fashionable males are sporting Super Duper grease stains this season.
(And, yes, she’s totally wearing Araragi’s hoodie there.)
(And, double yes, I would totally like to see Senjougahara’s Pinterest page.)
I like this outfit too. Shaft is in the zone animating this show. The amount of visual detail they pack in is tremendous, which makes it weird to watch something like Danshi Nichijou with its spartan style afterwards. Also, how did she get some many pencils? Not even Costco sells pencils in the amount she requires.
“You’re all heavy and flabby now.”
The confrontation is typical Nisio Isin with a lot of talking and double talk made more difficult by the fact that one of them is a huge liar, one of them is a huge idiot, and one of them is Senjougahara. I did like the Power Rangers battle going on in the background that kinda personified what was going on verbally in a physical manner. I was going to suggest that they should have replaced the Power Rangers with the Nichijou principal and the deer, but that’s just gilding the lily at that point.
(I did get anime blogger chills when Senjougahara and Araragi shared the “We protect each other” line. They are one hell of a couple, at least when one of them isn’t lusting over a middle school snail-ish girl and the other isn’t re-enacting parts of Mirai Nikki.)
Ararararagi not sexually harassing Mayoi is not right. I don’t want to live in a world where a high school boy can’t sexually harass a poor middle school girl ghost spirit thing. It’s like watching the dub version of Madoka. *shudders* I also was sad when Mayoi correctly pronounced Koyomi’s name but Koyomi screwed up hers. It’s like a Soviet Russia situation, only it’s wrong enough that I can’t make the joke. It’s like going into a sushi restaurant and ordering a burger or watching pr0n for the plot.
What’s kinda weird is that in the literary sense, a book is praised if it builds up to a climax and properly executes it. It might take most of the build for setup, but that’s okay. For example, Dune’s pacing can be compared to coitus with the deliberate and slow foreplay before all the chaos in the last fifty or so pages. And that’s how books are. Moby Dick. The Great Gatsby. Sound and Fury. There’s a lot of setup and characters not doing much except establishing who they are. Yet, when TV shows try to do this, it’s frowned upon. Are we so programmed that we need to have constant shit going on? Downton Abbey’s first season was slow and deliberate and awesome, yet they felt like it needed to go faster in the second season and almost veered it off the Sunrise cliff by doing so.
A story doesn’t take an hour to run its course. A story runs its course when there’s no more story to tell. That’s why I like what Shaft has done and stuck by the literary nature of Nisemonogatari by letting the story breathe. It’s kinda funny how people complain about the character montages earlier in the series when they are clearly there to show how the characters changed and evolved through the story and provide, gasp, setup. People were clamoring for action, and, well, episode after episode of mobile suits slamming into each other worked wonders for Gundam‘s narrative, didn’t it?
Stories need to be stories. A good story isn’t a CSI episode that wraps up nicely in an hour and features plenty of David Caruso adjusting his sunglasses. A story is about the build up to a plot resolution that, well, tells a story. That’s what Shaft is doing. Just because Nadeko has nothing to do with Karen Bee, it doesn’t mean nothing wasn’t setup for her future arc. Just because Mayoi is goofing off here with Araragi, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t show how Araragi is so ably to adapt to his surroundings. He’s like a chameleon. It’s what makes Nisemonogatari different. It’s feels like a story turned into an anime instead of an anime that tries to tell a story.
(If we’re not doing stories, we might as well do reality TV. Amazing Race with Mayoi trying to get the contestants lost? Yes, please. Ken Jenning, Deep Blue, and Hanekawa on Jeopardy? Yes, please. Project Runway challenge to design looks for Senjougahara as she judges? Yes, please. Red Shoe Diaries with Kanbaru? Fuck yes.)
“Screw the foreshadowing!”
Or… people just want to see shit happening all the time and Gundams colliding every episode. Damn. I can’t win.
We get a nakkid Hitagi in jail sequence, but we don’t get Hitagi kissing Araragi? Gah. Shaft must hate them cooties. They are the Madagascar of anime studios. SHUT. DOWN. EVERYTHING.
I guess you can say that he…
*Puts on sunglasses*
… got the point.
Loved Senjougahara’s “Um mmph” laugh as well as Shaft panning from top to bottom instead of vice-versa for a change. If I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!!!
What goes into the mouth here… ? Toothbrush.
I think we’re closer to an Hanekawa x Senjougahara ending than we think. Yes, I can imagine how Senjougahara must be terrified that Hanekawa could seduce Araragi at any time, but I wonder what else is up. My last impression during Tsubasa Cat is that they are more or less equal but now… wow… it is like Shizuru and Natsuki.
(I’m all for a Hanekawa x Senjougahara ending.)
Do all loli vampires behave the same way? Between Moonphase, Vampire Bund, this show, and Negima, I feel like they do. Or at least Shaft portrays them all the same way. Is it cause and effect? Or effect and cause?
(Oh, one more thing that happened as a traversed in the winter wasteland that was Europe… if the Negima “Final” OVA is how Shaft intends to condense material they are no longer interested in animating, we’re in a rough ride. Negima has not been one of Shaft’s stronger works to say the least. We’re like 1/4th of the way through Monogatari series? Can Shaft actually finish this franchise? Or will we get Hidamari Sketch season 8 first?)
If you tried to convince me that this Bakemonogatari franchise is actually about Koyomi and his delusions as he is the last person alive in the world, I might believe you. The world just feels ridiculously empty and sterile. Plus, I think I saw those lawn chairs on sale at Costco.
Araragi’s abs brings all the girls to his yard. With spirit animal issues. But they’re cute nubile haremettes nonetheless. I do like how Shaft is giving the girls and non-traditional male audience some fan service too… hard to think of anime that plays both ways.
Karen is drawn in her underwear a lot. A lot. Not complaining. Just pointing it out.
“I am going to kiss you.”
Such a tease. Shaft doesn’t even bother animating Senjougahara and Araragi’s kiss during Tsubasa Cat, totally glosses over the bonking during Karen Bee, and just cuts to the results here. We want our Incestory! Nisemonogatari is the spiritual successor to Sister Princess like how Jeremy Lin is the spiritual successor to
Walt Frazier Allen Iverson Jose Calderon.
(If kissing only gave him half the disease, what would it take to get the who– I get it. Nothing more to see here. Move along.)
“What did you do to me?!”
Kaiki destroyed poor Karen. It’s like sending a poor zergling to do an ultralisk’s job. Unfortunately, I felt like Kaiki wasn’t evil enough. Couldn’t he inject her with some illness that causes her to fall in love with her older brother? That would screw things up more than a silly fever-causing bee.
(The number of times during these three episodes that “nisemono” was said was incredible. It almost topped Sportscenter’s usage of “Linsanity” and “Tebow” or this blog’s usage of “Shaft being Shaft”.)
(Speaking of Tebow, yes, I got asked by at least four different people while I was in Europe, “What the fuck is a ‘Tebow’?” I figure if I had went to Europe in June instead, they would be asking about Linsanity… ah, Europe, land of this Pokemon. I wonder how many Europeans reading this are getting upset.. until they realize they are living in a paradise full of wine, cheese, and olives.)
(And, nope, I still have not watched an NBA game this season. Still gotta be strong.)
Why does this make me think of a scene out of Kill Bill? If I were an evil villain, I would definitely hire Shaft to decorate my lair. I do like Shaft’s visual designs. They make me forget about how much talking Nishio Ishin writes into his (or her?) works.
(Also, Kaiki looks a lot like the teacher from Katawa Shoujo.)
“You can have this ticket.”
Thank you? I guess?
“This ticket entitles you to touch my breasts whenever you want for as long as you like.”
Best birthday present ever. Almost as good as videotaped birthday sex. And there sure are a lot of melonpan fondling opportunities for Araragi this season… which girl hasn’t presented herself to Araragi for fondling yet? Tsukihi? Senjougahara?!
YES! EYE OF THE TIGER!
(Except when Hanekawa unleashes her condition… such a tease. Did not expect her to be a level 9,000 cock tease. Sometimes, the quiet, mousy, good girls are the ones that go wild Hulkamania-style all over you in bed.)
Somehow, they go from bamboo forest into industrial wasteland in two seconds. It’s as realistic as Kiefer Sutherland driving from some warehouse in Irvine to LAX during a commercial break in 24. Hell, that drive should have been two or three episodes by itself if they wanted the running clock to be accurate.
And isn’t this where Homura fought against the Walpurgis Night?
“Look at these boobs!”
“Not even half of Hanekawa’s size.”
Ouch. Remind me which ridiculous deus ex machina reason was it again that Araragi didn’t pick Hanekawa? Andohbytheway, most of the conversations about being strong is being just is exactly like how it plays out in Gundam (and Manifest Destiny) in that might is right and history is written by the victors. I’m not sure what the core message Nishio Ishin is aiming for in this arc, but it seems like that it is not just physical strength but mental will. Mental will to do what’s hardest for people: to move on.